With 50% of the global population living in cities and cities occupying less than 2% of the Earth landmass, optimizing the urban environment in a people-oriented way is a key challenge, in particular with the development of modern mobility solutions such as e-scooters, autonomous shuttles, electric vehicles, etc. On June 19, the Global Open Innovation Network, Accenture Ventures & Industry X.0 brought together industry leaders to discuss the future of Cities and Mobility.
The event kicked off with a panel discussion between:
- Marc Amblard, Founder and Managing Director of Orsay Consulting SV
- Stephen Zoegall, Senior Manager, Industry X.0 Innovation Strategy, at Accenture
- Jonathan Salomon, Senior Associate at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance Ventures
- Justin Bean, Global Director, Smart Cities and Smart Spaces, at Hitachi Vantara
Marc Amblard, who moderated the discussion, first asked the panelists about the opportunities and challenges related to Smart Cities and Urban Mobility. For Justin Bean, taking people to their homes and properly designing public transport is one of the major challenges in terms of mobility. Within the past ten years, many alternatives to public transport have emerged, starting with Uber and Lyft, and then Bird, Lime, and Jump. While these alternatives have proven extremely useful, they create all kind of new challenges. For instance, a recent study estimated that Uber and Lyft reduced bus ridership in San Francisco by 12 percent since 2010and every person lured from a bus or a metro into a Lyft or Uber adds congestion to the streets and emissions to the air.The two mobility giants make this worse by encouraging drivers to circle around to reduce wait times for users. A study from the University of Chicago alsoestimated that Uber and Lyft increased traffic fatalities by about 1,100 in 2017, a consequence of hectic pick-ups and drop-offs. In terms of opportunities, Justin Bean mentioned the underutilization of video. Indeed, traffic cameras collect massive amounts of data throughout cities. By using Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision, cities could access valuable information on how many buses, cars, bikes or pedestrians take a given path every day, and adapt their policies.
For Jonathan Salomon, traffic data can prove useful, but many other data sources can be exploited in order to understand and improve mobility. To do so, cities and mobility players have to work together and adopt a holistic view. The Shared Mobility Principles for Livable Cities launched at the 2017 Ecomobility World Festivalin Kaohsiung, Taiwan, includes two pre-requisites: togethernessand Open Data. Togethernessis actually listed as the very first principle: “The way our cities are built determines mobility needs and how they can be met. Development, urban design and public spaces, building and zoning regulations, parking requirements, and other land use policies shall incentivize compact, accessible, livable, and sustainable cities”. Later, the document addresses data governance: “The data infrastructure underpinning shared transport services must enable interoperability, competition and innovation, while ensuring privacy, security, and accountability”.After all the mobility shifts the US have gone through – from ships to railroads, to highways and cars to people moving to suburbs – the data revolutioncan help us reshape cities and make them more suited to modern needs.
Stephen Zoegall then shared some thoughts on Smart Columbus, an Open Data platform that provides anytime access to the city of Columbus’ latest mobility data. Accenture has been involved with Smart Columbus and tries to encourage public-private partnerships. These initiatives are particularly useful to break down silos between public and private data, close the gap in terms of expertise and capabilities between these two sectors, and promote a holistic view to make mobility more efficient. However, Stephen Zoegall emphasized the fact that data is extremely valuable and there needs to be incentives for everyone involved to share their data. Ultimately, it seems likely that all mobility players will share the same data sets, and opportunities will not emerge from figuring out the data but figuring out the data science.
The panel then discussed how open data pools could help cities optimize and customize mass transit systems. According to Justin Bean, the physical world is starting to follow patterns of the digital world and cities could learn a great deal from it. Thus, where retailers use data-powered A/B testing in their brick and mortar stores to try different layouts, cities could test different transit systems layouts to get the right mode of transportation, at the right person, at the right place, and at the right time. Justin Bean then explained how data could not only improve mass transit systems but revolutionize them. Indeed, the availability of data, coupled with automation and electrification, will help develop new business models. Justin Bean gave the example of Tesla’s Robotaxis: a network of fully autonomous vehicles being used as a ride-hailing service when they are not being used by their owners.
Finally, Marc Amblard asked the panelists how they envision urban mobility ten years from now. For Justin Bean, data sets will come together and provide a holistic view, allowing mobility players to reach a point of harmony. For Jonathan Salomon, mobility players will slowly aggregate, giving birth to a few super-players who will provide access to all modes of transportation. For Stephen Zoegall, the mobility space will be a mosaic of progress, composed of leaders and laggards, and customer experience will rise, in particular in public transport.
The discussion was followed by the pitch of 9 startups:
ampUp positions itself as “the Airbnb for EV charging”. Using the app, an electric vehicle owner can quickly identify an available and compatible charger and EV charger owners can earn cash sharing their charger at their own price and their own schedule.
Carvi’s driving assistance device offers an application which tracks various aspects of driving such as lane changes, collision danger and reckless driving and quantifies them in a Big Data platform to turn any standard vehicle into a smart vehicle, enabling drivers to drive safely in a secure way.
Cabin is the first hospitality transportation company on a mission to make the most of every waking and sleeping moment. Cabin addresses America’s “500 mile problem,” in which regional travel up to 500 miles from home requires sacrificing an entire day, forcing people to take fewer trips without even knowing it. By consolidating both transportation and accommodation into one simple and delightful experience, Cabin’s one-of-a-kind moving hotel experience enables people to travel without travel time.
Connected Signals’ platform collects real-time traffic signal data and uses it to build models for predicting traffic signal changes, based on history, vehicle and pedestrian calls, enabling clients to increase safety at intersections, improve fuel economy, reduce emissions and driver stress.
Ridecell empowers new mobility operators, including OEMs, car rental companies, auto clubs, cities, transit agencies, dealer groups, and private fleets to launch, expand, and maximize the utilization of their own ridesharing and carsharing services. Headquartered in San Francisco, the company provides an intelligent software platform that runs new mobility services such as carsharing, ridesharing, and autonomous fleet management. End-to-end integration and automation accelerate time to market, enabling Ridecell customers to launch mobility services quickly, operate efficiently, and scale revenues as business grows.
CLIP is a portable e-motor device to transform any bike into an electric bike, instantly thanks to our Proprietary Auto-Grip Handle. Bike commuters can rent CLIP, 24/7 via a network of vending machines contextually sized and strategically installed next to bike-share docks & multi-modal nodes.
Envoy is a private, community-based shared mobility platform for apartments, hotels and workplaces. Envoy’s platform provides a plug n’ play solution to property management companies as an exclusive community amenity. The service is tech-enabled, allowing for a full-mobile interface including reservation, vehicle access and control through the users’ phone.
FogHorn is a leading developer of “edge intelligence” software for industrial and commercial IoT application solutions. FogHorn’s software platform brings the power of advanced analytics and machine learning to the on-premises edge environment enabling a new class of applications for advanced monitoring and diagnostics, machine performance optimization, proactive maintenance and operational intelligence use cases. FogHorn’s technology is ideally suited for OEMs, systems integrators and end customers in manufacturing, power and water, oil and gas, renewable energy, mining, transportation, healthcare, retail, as well as smart grid, smart city, smart building and connected vehicle applications.
Urban Radar addresses the conflicting pain points of both cities and private operators by providing clear mobility data insights through visualization and data analytics.
Join us for our next events:
- Robotics, Drones and Automation on September 18 in San Francisco
- Reviving Retail with New Technologies on October 2 in New York
- Digitalizing New Talent Pool on October 16 in San Francisco
 Gregory D. ERHARDT, Michael GRAEHLER Jr. and Richard A. MUCCI, Understanding the Recent Transit Ridership Decline in Major US Cities: Service Cuts or Emerging Modes, University of Kentucky, August 2018.
 John M. BARRIOS, Yael V. HOCHBERG and Livia Hanyi YI, The Cost of Convenience: Ridesharing and Traffic Fatalities, University of Chicago, New Working Paper Series No. 27, October 2018.